Sarah Douglas’s interview with Larry Gagosian in The National reveals an interesting perspective on the global art market. In another section of the interview, Gagosian observes that the center of the art market is shifting back to Europe over the next few years. One reason is the comfort many Gulf state residents have with European cities. After all, Switzerland and the South of France are the Middle East’s Hamptons. And London is second home of choice for the wealthy of many regions. But in terms of raw, untapped potential, Gagosian sees the Abu Dhabi as the nexus of the art world’s future.
“At this time, in the world economy and the art economy, I think most dealers are looking a little bit outside of their normal environment, outside their comfort zone,” he says. “To other areas where there seems to be some strong collecting activity, or the potential for it.”
Potential is the key word here. “What you have in Abu Dhabi is a bit of a blank slate,” he continues. Referring to the Saadiyat Island museum complex, he says: “They may be getting pieces on loan from the Guggenheim and the Louvre, but essentially they are going to be creating collections. With the resources they have available, it’s a significant opportunity.” […]
But Gagosian is reticent on the subject of his clients. What he will say is: “It’s become increasingly apparent that there are a lot of opportunities in my business for sales in that part of the world, and Abu Dhabi in particular has become a compelling situation because of not only the possibility for private collections but the very ambitious museums that are being built there.”
As he prepared to leave for the UAE, Gagosian seemed confident that, after a dark period, the market could be on the rise. “It looks like we’re improving. Recessions do end. Maybe they don’t always end in the same way. Maybe there’s some false starts and we slide back. I’m not an economist, but I do feel that things are improving in general. I’m becoming more optimistic.”
Emerging Markets (The National)